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The Sat!!!!!

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gymnasticsbabie

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ahhhhh does anyone else cringe at the sound of the dreaded SAT/ is anyone preparing for the "death test" well im just starting officially today even though i should have been studying like my whole life. im aming for a 1900 to 2000. anyone else taken the test and have tips?? is anyone in my boat???:eek:
 

TDiver

Member
Jul 21, 2007
133
TN
hey,

I'm not taking the SAT right now because of when then test are but i'm taking the ACT on April 12th. I am so not looking foward to it, I want to get like a 25 and I know that's not that high but i'm awful at taking test and I would be pretty happy with it for this time around. I leave for Senior Nats right after the test and have to fly there immediatley because I compete Sunday... and I have no clue how I will be able to focus on anything but the meet.

What are everyones opinions about which one is harder.. the SAT or ACT?
 
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NYgymfan

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I hate standardized tests!! Ahhhhhh!!!! I survived though. I don't do quite as well at English/writing as I do at math/sciences, so I felt like the SAT was sort of not really a good reflection of what I can do since 2 of the 3 sections are verbal and writing. My favorite tips: if you can eliminate one incorrect answer on the multiple choice questions, then guess. Skip hard questions and go back to them at the end. And for math if there is anything with a variable, don't try to solve it with algebra...just make x be 10 or something simple like that and solve it with real numbers since its much faster. And get a good night sleep before the test.

Based on practice tests, the ACT is easier for me. But thats just me, everyone else is different. I'm taking both ultimately. Most schools i'm looking at say they prefer the SAT but they will take the ACT. So whichever one I do better on, I'm submitting those scores.
 

gymgymgymnast08

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You guys are all juniors I think but i'm in 8th grade so I don't need to take them YET. My mom does want me to take them before I need to like before it will have to count to practice test taking or something? Idk but I'm like ok in most subjects for it but I am horrible at vocabularyy sooo thats like kinda bad I usually just guess on most of them and it seems to work sorta for me I took a schloarship test I didnt get the schloarship but even with guessing in the vocab part i was in like the 80 something percentile so thats not bad
 
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gracefulone

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I didn't do the SAT, but I scored pretty well taking the ACT cold (28). If you don't know how to do a math problem look at the choices and start plugging numbers in-it's so much easier if you really have no clue. Reading-skim the selection to get the general feel, then read the questions and go find the answer. I scored high in reading, so this really works!
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Quite honestly, I think most people overestimate how difficult the SAT is. I found it to be a walk in the park when I took it. I don't remember my scores exactly; I didn't get a perfect score, but I didn't do badly by any stretch of the imagination.

The important thing is: don't stress about it.
 

TDiver

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Jul 21, 2007
133
TN
Geoffrey Taucer,

How do we not stress out about it? Sorry I'm just trying to figure out some ways not to. It is a big deciding factor in if I get into college, and I have coaches, parents, and teachers telling me how important it is. I'm not a great test taker and I put enough pressure on myself to do well as it is. So i'm just wondering if you have any tips on that?

Thanks,
Tori
 

Laura

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Oct 22, 2007
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I was just wondering if someone could explain what the SAT is exactly?? :confused: we don't have it in australia, but in just about every book or movie from the US it is mentioned!!! can some enlighten me? :D

as for not stressing out about tests you just need to study and be confident you know what you are getting in to. Don't go into the test thinking "oh if only I had studied a bit more...." go in thinking "well I have done everything I possibly can to prepare for this"
from the sound of it you can do practice tests so do lots of them so you are familiar with the format etc.
Don't let other people tell you it's soooo Important..... that will put more stress on you!! people always act like that about our yr 12 exams and the scores you get, because it is those scores that get you into uni, but really even if things go wrong there are always other options! you just need to find them!

I hope that helps you! Good luck!! :)
 
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KBT

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You guys are all juniors I think but i'm in 8th grade so I don't need to take them YET. My mom does want me to take them before I need to like before it will have to count to practice test taking or something? Idk but I'm like ok in most subjects for it but I am horrible at vocabularyy sooo thats like kinda bad I usually just guess on most of them and it seems to work sorta for me I took a schloarship test I didnt get the schloarship but even with guessing in the vocab part i was in like the 80 something percentile so thats not bad
You could take the PSAT around 10th grade as a practice. I would still study for this test - top finishers get national merit scholarships. I took the ACT for college. I didn't take any official practice tests - I just did a bunch on my own. If you are self-motivated, this is a much cheaper way to go! And for the vocab - get out those flashcards! Many study books have them in the back so you don't have to make your own.
 
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KBT

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I was just wondering if someone could explain what the SAT is exactly?? :confused: we don't have it in australia, but in just about every book or movie from the US it is mentioned!!! can some enlighten me? :D
The SAT is a college entrance exam required by the east and west coast schools in the USA. It's got a verbal/vocabulary/sentence structure section and a math section (basic algebra and geometry). I think it also has a writing section now.

The ACT is another college entrance exam that's more common in the midwest. It has a sentence structure section, a reading section, math section and science section.

The SAT focus is on vocabulary. The ACT tests more of what you should have learned in school.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Geoffrey Taucer,

How do we not stress out about it? Sorry I'm just trying to figure out some ways not to. It is a big deciding factor in if I get into college, and I have coaches, parents, and teachers telling me how important it is. I'm not a great test taker and I put enough pressure on myself to do well as it is. So i'm just wondering if you have any tips on that?

Thanks,
Tori
My tip: tell these parents, coaches, and teachers to shut up. (though you should probably phrase it more diplomatically)

I'll never understand why people always stress how important tests like these are; don't they realize that the more they pressure kids, the worse they're likely to do on these tests?

One thing to keep in mind is that SAT scores are but one thing they look at. They also look at grades. They look at extracurricular activities. And they look at a host of other things. The SATs aren't THE ONE AND ONLY THING deciding if you can get into a decent college; they're just another test, which will either make you slightly more attractive to the colleges or slightly less. If you are otherwise a good student, you probably have very little to worry about.

Which is not to say you shouldn't try your hardest and go for the best SAT score you can get; I'm just saying relax and don't put too much weight on your own shoulders.
 
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gymnasticsbabie

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okay so heres my problem... im not a good student!!! I get A's and B's but usually the occasional C. its just like the SAT is basically what is going to get me to whatever place i want to go (more or less) because i can't fall back on my grades.
yes i do have extracurricular activities...GYMNASTICS. and thats IT!!! we were doing resume's for colleges and filling out teacher recommendation forms and it was like "give details of all the things you have done outside of school, give details of all the leadership programs you were involved with, give detail of all the clubs you were involved with, give detail of all the summer programs you were involved with" ect. and hell i 've done NONE of those!!!! im so stressed because the SAT is a big deal for me. im also really bad at taking test but im studying so hard for it. i'm really focusing on the vocab beause the math sections are like a cakewalk. the section where i have to read the paragraph and answer questions is the worst for me because im sooooo badd at concentrating on what im doing. I'm practically ADD because i can't focus on anything for more than a minute if its not interesting. help me!
 

TDiver

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Jul 21, 2007
133
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I'm the exact same way as you danielle. I'm make 3 A's and a B right now(and it's great for me.. and i'm in all core classes)... but I struggle with math and sciences so B's are really good for me and I work so hard to just get a B and many times I have missed a B by less then a point and the same way with A's. I am the one who always gets a 92.4 because of the final (93 is an A here) and the teachers will never bump it up that .1. I have above a 3.0 GPA and that's not great but how do colleges know that you practice 30+ hours a week and miss school a lot because of competitions? I'm missing up to 8 days of school in April alone(depending on how well I compete), and it's hard to catch up and to teach yourself.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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okay so heres my problem... im not a good student!!! I get A's and B's but usually the occasional C.
I think you're overrestimating what it takes to qualify as a "good student." An occasional C doesn't mean you're a bad student or that colleges won't want you. I'm not saying you should strive for mediocrity, but there seems to be this widespread myth that the only way to get into college is to get straight A's, perfect SAT scores, and have a billion extracurricular activites. It's a myth. Relax, trust in your own abilities and qualities, and do the best you can do. If you do that, you have nothing to worry about.
 
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NYgymfan

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I think how much SAT's matter depends on what schools you have your heart set on going to. If you want to stay in-state and have decent grades, you probably won't have a problem getting into your state university system and will recieve a quality education. If you are Harvard bound, you need to strive for perfection, and every little bit helps. Actually, let me take that back, you have to strive to stand out from the crowd (of other applicants). Having an SAT score much lower than the average won't make you stand out in a good way.

But overall, SAT's is just one part of the picture. I think SAT's are less important now then when our parents went to college, so parents might think its more important than it really is. Back then, SAT's were a great way to compare students, since it is one test that is a "level playing field" for everyone. But now thats not so true since some people take prep courses and others don't.

But colleges have gotten very good at sorting out all the other things that go onto a college application...what classes you take, what your GPA and class rank is, what extra curriculars you do, etc. Colleges have very detailed information about every single HS in the country. Some of it is public information...like "this is how we calculate our GPA's", and some of it is not...like "this is how much this school inflates its grades compared to that school". Based on that informaton, they can reconstruct GPA's in such a way that they can compare students from different schools. They also know what classes the schools offer so they can see if you were taking a lower level class because you chose to or because they didn't offer anything more challenging.

The colleges know what they are doing, SAT's aren't the most important thing in the world...

(the above was advice given to me by a family friend who is an admissions officer)
 
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NYgymfan

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Well, I ended up not doing so great on SAT's....the verbal section killed me. OK I guess it wasn't all that bad but I should have been able to do better. As my SAT tutor said, the SAT measures how good you are at taking a standardized test, not how smart you are.

We'll see if the ACT is any better....I think it might be for me because it is more math/science then the SAT.
 

Sterlingdad

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Mar 4, 2008
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Just for clarification, the SAT is the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The ACT (American College Test) is an Academic Achievement Test. The difference between an Aptitude test and an Achievement test is important and is reflected in the way the test is constructed. An Aptitude test is supposed to measure your general ability to learn new information in the future and successfully adapt to the greater rigors of college coursework -- therefore they test general skills at a high level, such as vocabulary (a reflection of the amount you have read and your ability to retain information. The more you've read, and the more challenging works you've read, the greater your facility with words, and the better you'll do identifying synonyms, antonyms, analogies, and answering conceptual questions). Verbal comprehension has to do with your general ability to read difficult material and distill the important bits quickly.

The math sections again require a lot of basic knowledge applied in unique ways. Can you quickly figure out how to do logical math problems and do you understand complex math concepts? If so, you'll probably fare well when faced with college-level courses. The writing section has been introduced instead of the old critical thinking sections because too many students were beginning college with a total inability to write a coherent sentence.

The purpose of the SAT is to level the playing field between difficult schools, where a 4.0 is difficult to achieve but the students are very able, and easy schools where GPA is deceptive. The SAT is generally used as a cutting score rather than an absolute standard for admittance (they generally have a set of standards at a school and won't look at people who score below a certain point. School publications will generally tell you the average SAT of incoming freshmen, and you can guess that their cutoff is well below the average score).

As far as studying for the SAT, it won't really help due to the format of the exam. That includes expensive courses that promise significant point gains for taking the course. Research shows that it just doesn't happen. What CAN help, however, is taking practice tests from a book you can get cheaply at a bookstore, or ones you can download from the SAT website. The reason that can help is that the directions can sometimes be confusing if you open the book for the first time and are not familiar with the format. No sense wasting time reading directions. You will speed up a lot by practice. Note every question and type of question you get wrong in practice and look up how to solve those correctly. Look up every word you don't know. I can guarantee you'll do better and feel more confident when you know what to expect. It really is not too hard.

The ACT is specifically designed to test the factual knowledge you should have acquired by the time you are a high school senior. That's why there are area subtests -- like history, math, science, etc. The better the school you've attended, the more you should know. In theory, it should relate much better to GPA, and be less correlated with general Intelligence than the SAT. By looking at what you've already learned at a high level, it is supposed to better predict how you specifically perform in college courses. (Supposedly, the SAT is not related very highly to college GPA, so the ACT is supposed to make up for that).

The reason for the different areas of the country choosing different tests reflects a number of choices colleges make (it's a myth that only the east and west coast use the SAT -- it's used all over depending on the prestige of the school and the number of applicants). Elite schools tend to use the SAT because they want the best and the brightest even if they haven't always achieved well in high school (ever know anyone really smart but bored with high school? That's what they're trying to capture -- the undiscovered genius). But they'll also pick students with lower SAT's if they'll add something to the school mix -- like being a good athlete, an artist or actor, or a good gymnast.

You can study more to improve on the ACT than the SAT since it is supposed to be content-specific. But the dirty secret is that the correlation between the SAT and the ACT and general intelligence tests are remarkably high. You take the one that gives you the best chance of getting into the school you want, and you take both if you're applying to a variety of schools. Most of all, remember that a good breakfast and a good night's sleep will be more beneficial than hours of cramming and worrying.

Lastly, the quality difference in the education you receive between Harvard and State U. is not as great as you would believe. The difference is in the prestige and in the mean ability level of the student body. There is more variation at a State school, but you can also rise to the top more easily. Small private schools are also wonderful and often have more generous admission policies. And it is often easier to get into a smaller school, do well, and transfer to a more prestigious school as a junior than it would have been to get into the better school to begin with. One test will never decide your fate.

So relax, do what you can, and pray about the rest.

(if you want more info, you can go to their websites:

http://www.actstudent.org/index.html

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/index.html?student)
 
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KBT

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And one thing with the SAT or ACT is you can always take it again. Also, if you don't get into your first choice school, going to a community college for a year or two and transferring is a great option. It's often easier to get in as a transfer student (especially if you're transferring within a state school system), and it's cheaper.
 
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NYgymfan

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Hey thanks for the helpful advice, Sterlingdad and KBT. I never realized the SAT and ACT were meant to test two different things!

My problem is that I do really well in school and my parents have dreams of me going to a really good school. That does put a lot of pressure on me to do well and all. I think it would be really cool to go to a school like Harvard or something like that, but I think I'd be perfectly fine a smaller, "less famous" school. Unfortunately, my parents don't see it that way. My dad's words were, "We can get excited about spending the big bucks to send you to a top-tier school, but I can't get excited about spending the same kind of money to send you to a school thats not as good." I think my dad is being unfair and that it should be my choice where I want to go to college, but nevertheless, the pressure is on and my parents expect me to be a perfectionist.

I ended up taking a review course for the SAT, but I didn't really think it helped much. They taught me a ton of "tips and tricks", but ultimately the way to do well on the SAT isn't to use tricks to try to beat the system but to actually know how to get the correct answer to the questions! It was a waste. So I think I'm just going to do practice SAT's and ACT's from now on. And I'm sure when I apply to colleges they will look at the application as a whole and not just the SAT scores. But for some reason my dad seems to think I'm doomed without a really high score.
 
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gymnasticsbabie

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NYgymfan.. what was your first score?? I'm aiming for a 1900 but i don't know if thats possible for me. I'm definitely not the best test taker.
 
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